Despite Wall Street posting some decent gains during Wednesday’s session, it was more of a mixed bag for Asian markets with the main indexes in Shanghai and Hong Kong both accruing losses as traders continued to price in some downbeat macroeconomic data from Beijing earlier in the week, whilst earnings news also ended up weighing on sentiment. There was however a little more optimism in Tokyo where, despite some modest appreciation for the Yen and a disappointing Japanese machine order print, the Nikkei managed to post some gains.
The fact that the geopolitical agenda remains relatively quiet is also lending a degree of stability, but there’s little overall direction for US futures and as such we’re looking at a relatively unchanged start to the day on Wall Street despite the release of some disappointing growth data from Europe this morning. We’ve got weekly jobless claims due before the bell but again these are unlikely to provide much momentum although earnings from tow of the big retailers – WalMart and JC Penny – could offer some insight as to the mindset of US consumers. Ahead of the open we’re calling the DOW up 3 at 16655 and the S&P up 1 at 1948.